After 2 stages, Hero Motosports claims the lead position at ADDC

– Aaron Maré wins stage 2 !

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, continues their steady performance at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2024, and emerged winners of the 2nd Stage of the race.

Aaron Marè clocked the fastest time of the day while crossing the finish line of Stage 2.
Performing at his peak, this stage win pushes Aaron further up to the lead position of ADDC 2024. Ross Branch finished Stage 2 in the 4th place, and is currently at the 4th position in the overall rankings.

Stage 2 took the competitors from Al Dhannah city to their new camp – the heritage town of Mezaiara’a. The terrain was mostly sand and dunes, taking the riders all the way near to the Saudi Arabian border and the Empty Quarter, and then into the Liwa desert valley. Today’s mix of dunes, chotts, and many broken dunes, also had tough navigation to spice things up throughout the day.

Aaron, who replaced Sebastian Buhler for team Hero MotoSports at the ADDC, has showcased a consistent high performance since the beginning of the rally. In the morning, a close friend of his, and fellow competitor Michael Docherty met with an unfortunate crash. Aaron stopped to help his injured mate, and received compensation for the minutes he got delayed by. Even though his mind was disturbed from the fate of his fellow rider, Aaron made a highly impressive and focused ride to the finish, without making any navigational errors.

For Ross Branch, who still remains in the contention for a top prize at the ADDC, Stage 2 was a long, yet fun day. Since he was opening the stage for most of the day, navigation was particularly tough on him. Having faced some technical issues with his engine in the previous day, the Botswanan chose to replace his engine before starting on Stage 2. This came with an added time penalty; however, Ross is confident of turning the tide as much possible, in the remaining days.

Stage 3 will be 414 km long duel in the desert, taking the competitors into the infamous Rub Al Khali (or the Empty Quarter). After crossing hundreds of dunes, the riders will return to the bivouac in Mezaiara’a, a township known for its rich Emirati heritage and local culture.

Ross Branch: « Stage 2 is over and done with. It was much fun, but I had to navigate a lot today. I was leading the race in front since the beginning, so it was a long day for me, and navigation was pretty hard. But I’m happy with my ride today, and happy to be back in one piece. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Docherty who met with an awful crash today – it was quite difficult to watch my fellow competitor lying on the ground. »

Aaron Maré: « We’ve arrived at the new bivouac safe. Unfortunately, today morning one of my best friends Michael Docherty suffered a big crash and I stopped to help him out with along the medics and the helicopter support. It was quite tough for me to continue the day as my mind was heavy, worried about him. However, I tried my best to focus on the Road book and get back into a good rhythm, avoiding any mistakes. Thankfully the stage went well, and I’m happy with my result. »

Provisional Rankings – Stage 2:
1. Aaron Maré, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, 3h 15m 53s
2. Konrad Dabrowski, Duust Rally Team, + 2m 08s
3. Jean-Loup Lepan, Duust Rally Team, + 8m 47s
4. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 20m 32s
5. Oran O’Kelly, Vendetta Racing UAE, + 32m 58s

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2:
1. Aaron Maré, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, 6h 51m 27s
2. Konrad Dabrowski, Duust Rally Team, + 7m 28s
3. Jean-Loup Lepan, Duust Rally Team, + 21m 13s
4. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 45m 52s
5. Jan Brabec, Strojrent Racing, + 1h 06m 00s